In their race to reach more potential clients using less time and money, growing numbers of remodelers are making e-mail newsletters a focus of their marketing efforts. About half of the 170 members of Remodelers Advantage, a peer group organization, have e-letters, “and more every day,” says CEO Victoria Downing. David Alpert of Continuum Marketing Group says that about two out of five of his clients have e-letters, with those numbers also growing.
Friendly tools for staying in touch with targeted recipients, e-letters appeal to remodelers because “they’re so dang easy to use,” says John Arnold, an executive at e-mail marketing company Constant Contact, whose 250,000-plus small-business clients get e-letter and other e-mail services for as little as $15 per month.
But e-letters are worth the effort only if they’re well done, Alpert says. He’s seen some that “did more harm than good,” and others that may not have been harmful but, he says, probably weren’t very effective and wasted scarce marketing dollars.
Arnold agrees. E-letters often pay for themselves many times over. “On the other hand, if you spend $30 a month on something and it doesn’t work, you’re still wasting money.”
Asked to identify a particularly effective remodeling e-letter, Arnold points to Titus Built, a Connecticut design/build firm that sends monthly e-letters to about 1,000 people. Strong points below. (Refer to images.)
1. Consistent branding. The red, black, and gray Titus Built logo and color scheme create a coherent, professional look throughout the e-letter.
2. Confirm recipients. Almost a third of people change e-mail providers yearly, so ask for current contact information at every customer touchpoint.
3. Taking action. Link back frequently from your e-letter to your site for “the rest of the story” or to see more projects or testimonials, to sign up for your referral program, etc.
4. Relevant content. “The best e-letters do a couple of things well, not try to be everything to all readers,” Arnold says. Make content more informational than promotional. Consider a monthly focus — say, energy efficiency or outdoor living. Use well-written copy and quality images to speak to the budgets and values of your ideal clients. 5. Establish credentials and expertise. Showcase recent awards, recognition, certifications, professional advancement, etc.
6. Permission, please. “Stranger” e-mails can be intrusive or offensive. Rather than barging in uninvited, re-establish your relationship with a “welcome” letter that recipients can easily accept or decline. Have an unsubscribe option on every letter.
7. Relationships. Establish your connection to the community by showcasing charitable activities, open-houses, wine-tastings in your showroom, etc. Quote client testimonials, welcome return clients, say thanks for referrals.
Easy sign-up. “Put sign-up links everywhere,” Arnold says. Not just on the home page of your website but on every page, in your e-mail signature, and in your social media pages and/or blog.
MORE EXAMPLES OF REMODELERS' E-LETTERS
Orfield Design News, from Orfield Design and Construction, Inc.
Villa Voice, from Villa Builders, Inc.